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The meaning and origin of the expression: Just in time

Just in time

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Just in time'?

A manufacturing/delivery process where a minimum of goods are kept in stock. Items are planned to arrive precisely at the time they are required for use or despatch.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Just in time'?

Just In Time, or JIT, was coined to name and describe a manufacturing processes developed by Toyota in Japan in the 1950s and which spread to the US and UK in the 1970s. Nevertheless, the credit for the initiative should go to Henry Ford. He described essentially the same process, although it wasn't then named, in his autobiography My Life and Work, 1922:

"We have found in buying materials that it is not worth while to buy for other than immediate needs. We buy only enough to fit into the plan of production, taking into consideration the state of transportation at the time. If transportation were perfect and an even flow of materials could be assured, it would not be necessary to carry any stock whatsoever. The carloads of raw materials would arrive on schedule and in the planned order and amounts, and go from the railway cars into production. That would save a great deal of money, for it would give a very rapid turnover and thus decrease the amount of money tied up in materials."

Gary Martin - the author of the website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

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